Sub-titled The Biography of a CathedraL, this spans two centuries of Mediaeval France, which saw the Gothic established in...

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NOTRE-DAME OF PARIS

Sub-titled The Biography of a CathedraL, this spans two centuries of Mediaeval France, which saw the Gothic established in all of Europe, and the great Cathedral of Paris was the inspiration, embodiment of an age. This story of its building is the story of many facets of the Middle Ages,- historic, biographical, social, artistic. It is the story of the bishops who dedicated their lives to its creation; of the builders and the people who gave of themselves; of the daring experiments in engineering which introduced a new conception; of the growing identification with the cult of Mary, its symbolism, its power, its direction. Paris changes as we read, for the author, now living in France, has delved into the shadowy records of early Paris, the origins in the first places of worship in the Ile de France, the pagan gods of the conquered Gauls, the Roman gods, the slow acceptance of primitive Christianity, under Denis. Dim evidence exists, indicating the pattern of earlier churches, basilicas, a Cathedral, finally the first Notre Dame. From 1120 -- about the date when Maurice of Sully was born, the facts begin to establish themselves, the chronology, the details were recorded. And to the lowly born Maurice, ultimately to become Bishop of Paris, goes sure credit for building Notre Dame. That parts were unfinished, other parts rebuilt, additions made, accounts for the time span, but the cathedral in its essence was ninety years in the building. And its final glory was achieved when the sainted Louis was king. The pageantry of Paris was background; the Middle Ages come to life in these pages. While much of it will be too detailed, too technical for the average reader, its fascination, its imaginative sweep carries one along. Helen Waddell's Peter Abelard, the two fine biographies of Eleanor of Aquitaine- these may provide clues to the market for this. And looking back -- the closest parallels lie in Henry Adams' Mont-Saint-Michel and Chartres. This new book is an exciting reading experience.

Pub Date: Oct. 27, 1955

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1955